After a two-year hiatus, the Sithengi Film & Television Market will be back in 2009. Sithengi, which was the premier Southern African media event held in Cape Town for 11 years, came to an abrupt end when it was cancelled in 2007 by the then board because of financial difficulties.
It was announced at the Sithengi AGM held in Johannesburg on 6 December that the survival of Sithengi has now been assured with the support of Minister Pallo Jordan and Director-General Themba Wakashe of the Department of Arts and Culture (DAC), as well as the National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF) which has been mandated by government to develop and grow the South African film industry.
It was agreed that the DAC would work with Sithengi and the NFVF to find a solution for the debt and to draw up a proposal for a three-year funding period in line with SithengiÕs vision of a public-private sector funding model. The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the public broadcaster SABC have also committed their support to Sithengi.
Since the new Sithengi board was elected in November 2007 it has been working tirelessly on a new strategy, meeting with previous funders, donors and partners and trying to find mechanisms to overcome the debt left by the previous board.
In response to the good news that the new board had succeeded in saving Sithengi from extinction, Sithengi chairperson Faith Isiakpere commented: ÒYes we can, and this is not an echo of the USA elections.Ó
Read more in the January 2009 issue of Screen Africa